by Katie Sullivan
Scarlet was brushing Victoria's hair one morning, humming to herself, when the door burst open and her husband ran in. "Guess what!"
"The crew actually bathed?"
"No," he said with a dismissive wave.
"Gibber got caught in an emu stampede?"
"Katarina went five minutes without insulting you?"
"Do not be silly, Scarlet!"
"I like being silly."
"Do you want to hear my good news or not?"
"Does it involve emus?"
"You're no fun at all."
Victoria giggled some more.
"Will just got back from Port Largo."
"That's the news? Did he bring back souvenirs?"
"No, no, no! Will you shut your lovely mouth and let me speak?"
"I've never met anybody who can insult me and compliment me at the same time like you can," Scarlet said, picking black hairs from Victoria's comb. "Anyway, yes, yes, go ahead. Do tell."
"Will went through all the records and land grants and platter books--"
"Whatever. The bottom silver lining is, this island is not belonging to anybody!" Karnage announced.
"Yes! He has checked and re-checked to make sure the island isn't owned by any persons, corpserations or governmenal-types. And it is not on the maps, it is in international waters, and we are officially free to claim it!"
"So you submitted a discovery claim telling them exactly where our new secret hideout is."
"Yes. I mean no! I am more smarter than you are thinking, my silly esposa. But we do not have to worry about anyone else coming by to bother us. And if they do, well, we'll have great big guns and exploding thingies and such."
"And a big old 'Beware of the Dog' sign."
Victoria piped up. "We don't have a dog!"
"I meant the crew," Scarlet grumbled.
"Can we get a dog? Please please please?"
"No," Scarlet and Karnage said simultaneously.
"Puh-leeze?" Victoria whined.
"No, no, and no," Karnage said firmly. "If you want a fleabitten, smelly creature, adopt one of the crew!"
The child considered this for a moment. "What about a kitty?"
"A guinea pig?"
"No! Look what you started, Scarlet!"
"What about a pony?"
"This could go on all day," Scarlet warned.
"You started it!" Karnage said huffily.
"I did not!"
"What about a bunny?"
Katarina appeared in the doorway. "Um...right. Never mind." She turned around and left.
"I still want a pony," Victoria said after a moment of chastised silence.
"You and me both, kid!" Katarina called over her shoulder.
Karnage sighed, shrugged, and left for the relative sanity of his office.
Later that month, a mysterious but lavishly wealthy Spanish fox calling himself "Francisco Perez" appeared at the front desk of a construction firm in Port Largo. It seemed he was developing a newly-discovered island as a tourist destination, but was wary of his competitors getting word of his latest project. Thus he was willing to pay extra for contractors willing to work in utter secrecy. They would even travel to the construction site aboard one of his own planes, blindfolded. The rich often were eccentric, after all, and he was offering such a dizzyingly large amount of money that they decided to take the job despite the unorthodox conditions.
It took some months and an annoying amount of secrecy, but eventually the contractors completed their project: a no-frills "hotel" in the middle of the island--which would house the crew--and two villas on either side, facing the beaches. The one for the Captain and his family was of course rather larger than the one for his second mate/accountant/brother-in-law, but both were quite comfortable.
"Well, Señor Perez, we're all done! The men are just picking up their tools now," the foreman said, shaking the hand of his employer.
Karnage was very glad for a number of reasons. The noise and mess would be over, they could move out of the Iron Vulture into a real home again, and, perhaps best of all--he could stop wearing a disguise with a fake mustache every day. It itched, and whenever he tried to kiss Scarlet, it tickled her, making her laugh and completely ruin the mood.
"So when is the resort opening?"
"Er...we do not know yet. You will see it in the newspapers, I am sure," Karnage said quickly. He paid the contractor in small unmarked bills and instructed Will to make sure the work crew got back on the transport plane, safely blindfolded so they could never find their way back with the police. Assuming they realized they had been working for pirates for months, that is.
Scatching absently at his fake mustache, he wandered off to find Scarlet and tell her the good news.
Soon after the eruption, Carlotta finally wrote a letter to her mother back in Italy. It was easier to confess her...situation...in writing, without having to face Isabella or Vincenzo. The outrage Isabella would feel on unexpectedly becoming a grandmother was tempered by the invitation to the wedding, to be held on the island at the end of the summer.
The reprieve from Isabella's wrath was short-lived, however. Immediately upon receiving the letter, she more or less shanghaied her uncle and La Paura and headed straight for what was now known as "Karnage Island"--it wasn't terribly original, but it satisfied the Captain's ego. Scarlet had tried her best to suggest more poetic names, but he stubbornly vetoed them all.
Scarlet was on the second-floor balcony that faced the western ocean, reading a novel and enjoying the tropical sun, when an object on the horizon caught her attention. She looked up and squinted, attempting to identify it.
"Querido!" she called out, tossing her novel aside. "There's a galleon coming!"
Karnage was inside their spacious bedroom, practicing poses in front of the mirror with his cutlass. "A gallon of what?"
"A galleon! A ship! Come look!"
He rushed to her side and peered across the waves at the vessel cruising toward their island.
"It's not your parents, is it? They're not supposed to be here until Wednesday."
"No, it cannot be them. Besidelines, they would be coming from the east. That must be Vincenzo's ship."
Scarlet sighed as this sunk in. "I'll go warn Carlotta."
Karnage scowled. "Yes, I suppose Isabella will most unpleased."
"Isabella Barzini...a grandmother!" Scarlet snickered on her way out of the room.
She found Carlotta and Juan playing chess on the front porch. Although she had several months to go until her delivery, she still had to lean forward to reach the game board.
The boy looked up with a very Karnage-like grin as his mother approached. "Mama, I beat Carlotta at chess!"
"Just once," his half-sister was quick to add. "I beated you twice!"
Scarlet turned to her and broke the news gently. "Carlotta, your father and I just noticed a galleon headed this way. It's probably your mother and uncle."
"Oh no," she moaned, putting her head in her hands. "She will not be happy..."
"You won't know until you see her," Scarlet said with false optimism.
"I know my mother," she said, frowning. "Oh well, I will go tell Sergio." She stood with some effort, wincing at her sore feet, and headed for the quarters she and her fiancé had been sharing.
Meanwhile, Don Karnage located his youngest offspring. As she so often was these days, she was simply sitting at the table in the living room, staring at the aquarium. It wasn't a pony by any stretch of the imagination--even her youthful one--but the pair of goldfish they had acquired instead captured her attention quite often.
"Victoria, mi princesa, your Tio Vincenzo and Isabella will be here soon," he said.
"Papa, did you see Lightning? He just yawned!" Victoria said, ignoring his announcement in favor of cooing over her fish.
"Yes, yes, very nice. Did you hear what I said?"
"Lightning's been sleeping, but Plunder tried to eat his own poo!" Victoria said loudly, wrinkling her nose.
Karnage grimaced. "Perhaps a pony would not have been so bad after all..."
"Really?" Victoria perked up.
"No! Forget I said that! Just...come along and get dressed up all pretty to meet Vincenzo and Isabella."
"I am dressed pretty."
"Get prettier. You are the prettiest little girl in the world, so be sure you look like it."
"Well, okay. But I still want a pony."
"Okay, okay..." She slunk off toward her quarters.
La Paura docked at the pier in the lagoon on the south side of Karnage Island. Carlotta and Sergio stood beside Don Karnage and Scarlet, holding hands and doing their best not to look sheepish. As soon as the gangplank slammed into place, Vincenzo bounded ashore. "Carlotta! There you are! Congratulations!" He seized both her and Sergio in a gigantic hug, taking them completely by surprise.
"Buon Giorno, Zio," she stammered. ["Good day, Uncle."]
"Hello, sir," Sergio managed to get out.
"Let me look at you," Vincenzo said, holding her at arm's length. He studied her intently for a moment. "It's going to be a boy. I can tell."
Carlotta laughed. "How do you know that, Zio?"
"The way you're carrying him. Definitely a boy."
"We will see," she said with a nervous smile, watching over her uncle's shoulder as her mother descended the gangplank.
Isabella's face was remarkably emotionless. She walked slowly, deliberately, never taking her eyes off her daughter. Vincenzo stepped out of the way, giving her a warning look. They had obviously discussed this before, but he wasn't sure how well she would keep her promises.
"So." Isabella was frowning, but she didn't have a weapon drawn, so Carlotta was optimistic enough to muster a smile.
"Um, hello, Mama."
"What have I told you a million times?" Isabella said flatly.
"Wait an hour after eating to go swimming?" Carlotta said with a toothy smile. "Do not be playing with matches? There are no monsters under my bed?"
Isabella turned to Sergio. "Not under it, perhaps..."
"Isabella..." Vincenzo said sternly.
She pursed her lips and crossed her arms on her chest. "Look. I do not have to like this."
"I've also told you a million times not to interrupt me."
"I'm very disappointed in you. How dare you shame me like this?"
"Isabella has no shame," Karnage whispered to Scarlet, snickering.
"I heard that, Flippy!" she snarled.
Carlotta spoke up. "Mama, I have done nothing that I regret. I love Sergio, and I am happy to be starting a life and a family with him. At least I plan to marry him!"
"Why you little--" Isabella quivered with fury and after a moment of failing to regain control of her temper, reached up and slapped her.
Carlotta immediately returned the favor.
"Girls!" Vincenzo scolded.
"Ooh, a cat fight," Karnage said with a chuckle.
A voice came from behind him. "Are you talking about me behind my back again, Eyebrow Boy? Oh, hi, Isabella, Vincenzo. Have a nice trip?"
"This is not a good time, sis," Scarlet whispered.
Sergio had a protective arm around Carlotta's shoulders. "Signora Isabella--"
Karnage snorted derisively at the title of respect, earning a murderous look from the vixen in question.
"--I have nothing but honorable intentions toward your daughter, I assure you."
Isabella opened her mouth to obviously insult them again, but Vincenzo put a hand on her shoulder. "Isabella, remember what we talked about?"
"You have not exactly had a spotless past yourself, niece. Do not forget the circumstances of Carlotta's birth."
Isabella glowered at Karnage. "As if I could forget!"
Vincenzo continued. "So...?"
She exhaled slowly, trying to regain her composure. "Fine. What's done is done. I suppose I will have to accept this, and him," she said, glaring at Sergio.
He attempted to shake her hand, but she kept her arms firmly folded on her chest.
"Please, Mama. This is what will make me happy," Carlotta said. "And you are right. What's done is done. Can we not just make the best of this?"
Isabella regarded her with less anger but still wore a frown. "Do you love him?"
"Yes! Very muchly!"
"And you love her?" she asked him.
"Yes! Of course!"
"You'll marry her and stay with her forever?"
"Absolutely. I want nothing more." Sergio took Carlotta's hand in his and gently raised it to show off her the dazzling engagement ring.
Isabella slouched slightly and looked away. "Oh, very well. Go ahead and marry each other. Be happy." Her tone of voice made it seem more like a curse, but the message was there.
"Oh, thank you, Mama!" Carlotta said, predictably tearing up. She reached out to hug her mother, but Isabella would have none of it. She gave Karnage one more icy look before hurrying back onto the ship.
"Oh, don't mind her," Vincenzo said, clapping a hand on Sergio's shoulder. "She's just having a bad...decade or two...or four... Er, anyway, welcome to the family, my boy!"
"Thank you, sir!"
Vincenzo turned to his former pupil. "Now, shall we see this new place of yours?"
Karnage made an elegant bow. "I thought you'd never ask."
Back to main library
This story and the characters Scarlet, Juan, Victoria, Vincenzo, Carlotta and Isabella and are (c) Katie Sullivan and may not be used without permission. Katarina, Wenna and Kai are (c) Kayleen Connell and shouldn't be used without permission, either. Don Karnage, the Iron Vulture, the Air Pirates, TaleSpin, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette, Kit Cloudkicker, Baloo, Rebecca Cunningham, and all related indica, etc, are (c) The Walt Disney Company and are used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes only.